Liberal group's latest ad claims McConnell wants to cut Social Security

08/15/2013 06:11 AM

The liberal group Progressive Change Campaign Committee is going after Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell with a small ad buy starting Thursday that claims McConnell “supports cutting Social Security.”

The commercial features Kirk Gillenwaters, a retired member of UAW Local 862, who worked at the Ford Motor Co. plant in Louisville. The group is starting with a $21,000 ad buy over the next week. But a spokesman said the buy could be increased if more money comes in through online fundraising.

“We work hard for these companies. And we’re promised a secure retirement in return,” Gillenwaters says in the commercial. “… Our pensions are being cut, and we need Social Security. Sen. McConnell supports cutting Social Security. He’s breaking a promise.”

The ad doesn’t include any citations on screen to back up that statement. Information provided by the committee refers to McConnell’s statements to the Wall Street Journal last December in which he said he supported slowing cost-of-living increases as part of a broader deal on tax and entitlement reform. The group also pointed to McConnell’s quote in the National Review on July 29 in which McConnell suggested Social Security cost of living adjustments should be linked to the consumer price index. Here’s the excerpt:

“I think a place to talk is on things like chained CPI,” an adjustment to how Social Security benefits are calculated, “and raising the age for Medicare,” he says. “In return for that, we could trade less spending reduction on the discretionary side, because we all know the biggest challenge is actually not on the discretionary side, but on entitlements. To me, that’s a better place to go in the fall than signaling that you’re open to raising taxes.”

But in neither case is McConnell suggesting cuts to current benefit levels.

In the ad, Gillenwaters and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee also call for expanding Social Security.

This isn’t the first time Gillenwaters, has participated in an ad against McConnell.

In October 2008, he was featured in one of the United Auto Workers ad backing Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford. Gillenwaters said in that ad:

“Working people are really hurting right now, and we need a senator from Kentucky who will listen to our concerns. Mitch McConnell has been in Washington for 24 years, but every time I have tried to speak to him, he has constantly refused to meet with us. We deserve better representation.”

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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